Natural resources are a major attraction in Konjic, something that puts this municipality on the map. The Neretva River flows through the very centre, with the town surrounded by several mountains. Therefore, special attention was paid to the protection of these natural resources in the 2013-2033 Konjic Municipality Spatial Plan. Under the Plan, over a half of the municipality’s territory will be designated protected areas – Bjelašnica, Treskavica, Visočica, Prenj, Čvrsnica, Čabulja. The future protected areas are extremely sparsely inhabited. According to Andrea Pavlović of IPSA Institut, which is in charge of developing the Plan, there used to be 23 settlements in the area which are completely abandoned nowadays.
–The complete infrastructure is still there, roads, some sort of local water supply lines people used, which are all decaying now. The focus of our Plan is to use the capacities within the protected area to save them from decay, says Pavlović.
According to Pavlović, emphasis in the Konjic Spatial Plan is placed on tourism, scientific research in protected areas, the use of natural resources and water to generate energy, especially through small scale hydropower plants.
The Plan also foresees the construction of a waste water treatment system, because the town’s population has grown with the influx from surrounding areas.
–The town and Neretva are highly overstretched and we are aware that the Nertva River is one BiH’s most beautiful natural resources. Hence, the plan is to construct a sewage treatment system to prevent waste water from being discharged directly into Neretva. The construction of a landfill is also planned, Pavlović said for “eKapija”.
Pavlović added that Corridor Vc would pass through Konjic and that a number of roads connecting to the Corridor would be constructed in order to ensure that the Municipality was well connected with the Corridor.
–Corridor Vc is the backbone of the traffic system. Trunk road M17, which is currently perhaps the most overloaded road in that part of BiH, will be somewhat disburdened, but it will remain the backbone of development because most settlements gravitate towards it. There are also regional roads connecting Konjic with other municipalities, as well as a network of local roads.
Pavlović stated that the objective was to connect the currently abandoned settlements, whose potentials were planned to be used, with regional and trunk roads in the Municipality.
–In order to have visitors in those parts, there must be an infrastructure in place. Each settlement will be connected to a local road which further connects to the centre for supplies purposes and then with the centre of Konjic.
“There are several other individual protected areas in the Konjic Municipality”, Pavlović says. Apart from future national parks, there’s the dolomite area of Vrtaljica located in Konjic proper, then there’s the Ljuta River canyon, the Rakitnica canyon and many other. In her own words, the area presents an enormous resource for development of tourism and for research work. It is the habitat of numerous endemic animal and plant species.
As for green field and brown field investments, Pavlović went on to say that the existing industrial complexes in the town only use 10% of their capacities and there was a huge potential for development of commercial zones.
Moreover, the construction of several industrial zones – along the trunk road and the interchange of the future Corridor Vc – is envisaged in the 2033 Konjic Spatial Plan.
The Konjic Municipality Spatial Plan was presented at this year’s Urban Planners Exhibition held on 6 November in Niš and organised by the Serbian Town Planners Association. The complete Plan was developed by IPSA Institut Sarajevo and financed by the Konjic Municipality. The preliminary spatial plan was adopted in 1987, with great demographic, spatial, development and infrastructural changes occurring in the meantime.
–The Konjic Municipality wanted to develop a new spatial plan. We were brought on board as the successful tenderer. A spatial plan is developed in four stages. The Konjic Spatial Plan is currently in the stage of a proposal, i.e. the final stage of adoption. Since it is a lower-level plan, it must be aligned with higher-level plans, therefore the spatial planning ministries at the cantonal and FBiH levels are continuously consulted, said Andrea Pavlović of IPSA Institut for “eKapija”.